Life as a Treasury Economist by Kemi Saka

Transformation

I currently work for the Public Service Transformation Network, helping public bodies and local councils remodel public services so they are designed efficiently around the needs of local people.

I focus on growth by co-designing ways to improve the skills of local people in order to get them working and into higher paying jobs and on creative and innovative ways to use taxpayer assets such as buildings to boost local economic activity.

Academic background

My academic background was in Economics which I studied on the advice of my father, my preference at the time was International Relations. I studied Applied Economics at undergraduate level at the University of Plymouth and went to the University of Nottingham for my master’s degree in Economic Policy.

My first job

I began my career working for National Grid Transco as a gas demand analyst. National Grid Transco wanted staff with experience of using statistical software and I had used these while at Nottingham.

HM Treasury

I joined HM Treasury in 2003. My first posting was monitoring the impact of the introduction of the euro, which included briefing the Chancellor of the Exchequer before meetings of EU Finance Ministers. I also represented the UK in various committees on economic matters.

My other Treasury roles included:

  • Enterprise Team – worked with the Department of Education on using the national curriculum to boost entrepreneurship education to;
  • Pensions Team – developed the National Employment Savings Trust with the Department for Work & Pensions. This helped make pension savings for employees the default;
  • Public Spending – I developed early warning and continuity regimes to protect essential frontline services as new public service providers are introduced.

Away from HM Treasury

I have experienced new challenges over the years. I worked in the Internal Market and Services section of the European Commission, spending time learning about how the European institutions worked and briefing European Members of Parliament about the Services Directive as it made its way through the European Parliament.

I also previously worked in the Better Regulation Executive, helping officials in central Government Departments deliver policy objectives in innovative ways i.e. using behavioural science and nudge techniques. This helped reduce burdens on business and improved public policy goals.

by Kemi Saka

Kemi Saka works for the Public Service Transformation – on secondment from HM Treasury.